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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why Ali named his sons after Caliphs?

What Muawiyah says in his letter so openly and frankly shows that Ali was obliged to maintain some outward symptoms of affection towards the three Caliphs. This will also refute another conjecture that is claimed:
“Another sign of his affection for the three Caliphs is that He named his sons Abu Bakr bin Ali, Umar bin Ali and Uthman bin Ali.”![1]
“The leader of Friday prayers of Zahidan (Iran) who is a Sunni spoke to his audience that three brothers of Imam Husain were martyred in Kerbala, as they fought along with their brothers. This shows the ties of affection between the family of Ali and the Caliphs (Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman).”![2]
Anyway, it should be noted that:
“Such arguments from early Islamic days and in the run of historical events have played a part and given a trend to the political status of the Prophet’s House. Further, these events just give a deluding face to the actual facts that existed behind the events. There is nothing tangible in it – except a public-deceiving device. In other words, to use the common term we should say that they are far from being real. Therefore they are nothing more than a guise to provide a show to public.
Those who have a little information about history, Islamic civilization, culture and something regarding Arabs they certainly know that names such as Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman were already current among the people prior and later to Islam. People were called by these names. They have no bearing on the personalities. Nor these names came into being because of the personalities.
In a social culture, no matter whichever society, inimical or intimate relations do not cause one to be named or not named after the names of either friends or enemies. Names have nothing to do with mutual relations. Names cannot be prohibited.
In the norm of today’s society, too expression of love or hatred cannot be based on a name. Because of name of one family there exists enmity, which ends in a murder of another.

[1] Sayyid Ahmad Mawassaqi: Istiratazi-e-Wahdat (Strategy of Unity), Vol. 1, Pg. 135
[2] Abdul Hameed Ismail Zahi: Appeal quoted in Nida-e-Islam Magazine, Issue No. 9, Spring 81, Pg. 71


If the name of the murderer happens to be Abdullah the family of victim could be angry or demand compensation etc. to assuage its hurt and grievance. But its hatred with the name Abdullah is not justifiable.
Far beyond this, there is no one who does not know the enmity and its extent between Muawiyah and Bani Umayyah with the Prophet’s House and its Shias.
But a brief look at History and biographical books will show that the Bani Hashim and Shias[1] continued to name their children Muawiyah and even Yazid for centuries. Here we present a few examples:[2]

Name of Muawiyah in use

– Muawiyah bin Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib (from Bani Hashim)
– Muawiyah bin Harith and Muawiyah bin Sasaye from Shias and companions of Ali.
– Muawiyah bin Ammar, Muawiyah bin Wahab (among Shias and companions of Imam Baqir (a.s.);
– Muawiyah bin Saeed, Muawiyah bin Salma, Muawiyah bin Sawade, Muawiyah bin Sahl, Muawiyah bin Tareef, Muawiyah bin Abdullah, Muawiyah bin al-Ala, Muawiyah bin Kulaib, Muawiyah bin Maisarah. All of them were Shia and among companions of Imam Sadiq.
Muawiyah Ja’fari was a Shia and among companions of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.).
– Muawiyah bin Hakam and Muawiyah bin Yahya were among companions of Imam Reza (a.s.) and…

Name of Yazid in use

– Yazid bin Muawiyah bin Abu Bakr bin Ja’far (his mother was Fatima Binte Husain bin Hasan bin Ail);[3]

[1] Arabic speaking
[2] [For more information most books of Shia Rijaal can be referred like: Rijaal Toosi, Rijaal Barqi, Rijaal Kishi, Mojamur Rijaal al-Hadith of Ayatullah Khui.
[3] [Father and son, both from Bani Hashim were named Yazid after the tragedy of Kerbala.
Yazid bin Muawiyah bin Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib had two more brothers named Hasan and Salih. All three were from the same mother and they participated in the uprising of Nafs-e-Zakiyyah
(Refer: Abul Faraj Isfahani: Maqatil at-Talibiyyin)]

– Yazid bin Ahnaf, Yazid bin Jibelleh, Yazid bin Tomeh, Yazid bin Qays, Yazid bin Nowaise, Yazid bin Hani. All these were Shias and companions of Ali (a.s.).
– Yazid bin Laheet, Yazid bin Haseen, Yazid bin Ziyad. All these three were Shias companions of Imam Husain. All these three were among the martyrs of Kerbala.
– Yazid bin Hatim was among companions of Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.).
– Yazid al-Kannasi, Yazid bin Khyam, Yazid bin Ziyad, Yazid bin Abdullah, Yazid bin Abdul Malik Jofi, Yazid bin Muhammad Nishapuri, Yazid bin Abdul Malik Nofekhi. All these were Shias and companions of Imam Baqir (a.s.).
– Yazid bin Awar, Yazid al-Qamat, Yazid bin Esbaat, Yazid bin Ishaq, Yazid bin Khalid, Yazid bin Khaleel, Yazid bin Umar bin Talha, Yazid bin Farkhad, Yazid bin Haroon al-wasti. All of them were Shias and companion of Imam Sadiq.
– Yazid bin Hasan, Yazid bin Khalifa, Yazid bin Saleh. All of them were Shias and companions of Imam Moosa Kazim (a.s.).
– Yazid bin Uthman, Yazid bin Umar. Both of them were Shias and companions of Imam Reza (a.s.).
It can be noted how this name was common among Shias.
On the basis this can we conclude that relations between Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan and Ali bin Abi Talib and Bani Hashim and Shias were very close and good? Who can even for a moment think that Yazid bin Muawiyah did not commit any wrong or did not kill Imam Husain and his family?
What is certain is that names do not reflect the kind of relations that exist between the bearers of those names.
In every society names come into fashion and later get out of date by losing attraction or text of its contents. Besides they depend on personal taste or cultural vicissitude. Even in Sunni societies names of Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman are less in circulation because they are selected. For instance, I have myself searched among the writers of Nida-e-Islam but I did not find one bearing any of these three names. However in the early centuries of Islam, this was not the case. These names were familiar and customary.


However getting these names out of norm particularly from Shia circles must be due to general will and intention of the people during the past centuries.
Besides the wars that took place between Ottomans and Safavid rulers (of Iran) took a religious pretext to itself. This too could be the cause for the names receding into oblivion.
During the centuries – not too remote, Shias[1] created a far-reaching and widely embracing cultural movement, which ultimately covered all aspects and angles. This movement rather winnowed and sifted the names leaving only those of Infallible Imams. Shias began to use names of Imams. Therefore Shias completely eschewed the names, which remind them of enemies of Ahle Bayt (a.s.). Little by little this Shia practice took to itself a look of ‘enemy to the enemies’ and ‘friend to the friends’ of the Prophet’s House. In other words to hate the enemy and befriend the friend of Ahle Bayt of Prophet. In the earlier centuries, such an understanding in selecting the names did not exist.
According to the foregone details now in this present age after lapse of fourteen centuries, names cannot be the gauge of relations between two sides. Other grounds should be searched to find the reason of enmity or friendship.[2]
In that age too there was not any proof of good relation by means of the name. These names perhaps were common among Arabs in those days.
In other words:
According to their taste or choice they used to select a name for their newborns. There was nothing bad in these names. We do not find in any books of opponents even in recent times; that is since fifty years onward, that through the commonality of these they have argued that the Imams were at good terms with the Caliphs.[3]
In the same way it is narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) that he said regarding the naming of his son, Uthman: I have named him after my brother Uthman bin Ma’zoon.[4]

[1] [Especially non-Arabic-speaking]
[2] Engineer Jawad Husaini Tabatabai: Dar Pasukh-e-Afsana-e-Shahadat, Pgs. 181-184
[3] Ustad Sayyid Ali Husaini Milani: Imamat-e-Bila Fasl (Edit. Muhammad Reza Kareemi), Pg. 237
[4] Abul Faraj Isfahani: Maqatil at-Talibiyyin, (Translated by Rasooli Mahallati), Pg. 80


Another outlook about these namings

“Naming the children itself, is an issue of irrecusable importance. Such it has been since ancient times. The magnitude of this issue depends upon social status of the person. More serious the issue if greater the position of the person. There are many incidents in history. After having had named their children they have changed and chosen some other names because the first names were not approved by the Prophet or did not meet his taste. Or with regard to Imam Hasan, Imam Husain and Mohsin, they were named first with names which were changed later.
There are cases that show the tyrant rulers, Caliphs, from social and political aspects, dictated the names for the persons they liked. In those prevailing conditions, no one could oppose the chosen name.
With regard to son of Ali whose name was Umar, Sunni sources have explained:
“Hafiz Midhi,[1] Ibne Hajar Asqalani[2] and other writers have written:
When Saha Binte Rabiya wife of Imam Ali (a.s.) gave birth to a male child, Umar bin Khattab named the child after himself!!
In our opinion, this too should be the same ground as the issue of marriage with the daughter of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) under compulsion.”[3]



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